The Original Ten Sephirot ©
KabbalaHebrew.com © Rabbi Monty Eliasov Austin TX
August 2, 2010
KabbalaHebrew.com presents the ORIGINAL interpretation of the Ten Sephirot (עשר ספירות) according to the book in which this was first recorded, namely, the SEFER YETZIRAH (ספר יצירה).
When most people think of the Ten Sephirot they bring to mind the popular and standard version which has been made famous by medieval rabbinic Judaism. Keter, Chochmach, Binah, and so on through Malchut.
It may be a surprise to them that in fact the original Ten Sephirot were not ten entities with name but rather five sets of polarities. Their names were defined by the five sets of two polarities.
This is recorded in the Sefer Yetzirah which is the oldest presentation (maybe 8th century or earlier) of the Ten Sephirot. What is relevant here is that this original presentation is the closest to being Taoist in essence. By Taoist I mean that they reinforce a polarity way of viewing the Universe wherein the Master, who we call God by various names, is revealed through processes that allow for life and death eternally.
Later teachers changed this orientation into the system we have today. The polarities are still there. However, they are overshadowed by concepts such as the seven lower Sephirot being separate in some ways from the upper three Sephirot. They did not have any grounding in the Taoist teachings, so that trajectory is all understandable. However, we are now living in a global world and the obvious needs to be explored.
Basically, the teaching here is that there are exactly five, no more and no fewer, polarities out of which all other polarities emerge. All the polarities operate equally and simultaneously without such divisions.
Where did the unknown author of the Sefer Yetzirah get this from? Most probably a combination of personal insight and familiarity with verses in the Hebrew Bible that already expressed these ideas separately in various verses of the TaNaCh, but never recast into a completely holistic fashion until the Sefer Yetzirah.
I give thanks to my teachers in the Dao, especially master Ohashi Sensei, and Tai Chi teacher and personal fiend, Heloise Gold. Also I have read the teachings of Lao Tzu and other masters of this precious path. KabbalaHebrew.com stands as a living bridge between traditions that initially seem worlds apart.
In my lesson on the Original Ten Sephirot, I will first translate the sections from the Sefer Yetzirah which lays down the basics of the Ten Sephirot. You will see that instead of the standard Rabbinic explanation of three plus seven Sephirot or a system of Sephirot super-names such as Ceter, Xochmah, Binah and so on, we have before us a more primal and essential model.
Note that there are five explicit polarities and these five sets of opposites define the natural world together with its spiritual source, the One God, Yahweh, which in Hebrew is a verb.
Then I will present verses from the Hebrew Bible which clearly demonstrate that consciousness in Biblical prose that is clear and moving.
Finally, if time remains, I will shore up this approach with teachings from the Midrash Rabah which amazingly teach this consciousness in the 5th century.
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